Open access: who should pay?

It’s been great watching the open access (OA) debate slowly but completely transform over the last two years. Back when I started writing about OA, the big question was still whether or not the world should go that route at all. At times it has felt like a long, hard road from there to here, but we now live in a world where the US and UK governments have both officially declared their support for universal OA, and Europe’s Horizon 2020 research program will mandate OA, while the European Research Council strongly supports OA. The “whether to do OA” debate is over.

Managing multicultural teams to raise teaching and research standards

Over the past 10 to 15 years, internationalisation has had a great impact on European universities. This development was assisted by the Bologna process. More and more universities offer trainings and project groups where scientists can talk about their experience and fictitious sample cases so that they might develop strategies to handle intercultural situations and to stimulate their students’ intercultural awareness.

Do science girls have an image problem?

Is the image of women scientists to blame for the lack of popularity of science studies? And how much could changing the image of female scientists do to solve the two problems that persist? Namely, boosting girls’ involvement in science from an early age. And removing the barriers to top positions for female scientists when they get there. Find out more in this EuroScientist article.

Cumulating R&D cuts does not bode well for the future of Spain

For the fourth consecutive year, resources allocated by the Spanish Government to R&D have been reduced. To assess its real impact, we need a detailed analysis. However, facts already speak for themselves. The 2013 annual budget approved by the Spanish Parliament reveals the government’s actual policy regarding R&D. To say the least, it is not always in line with politicians’ statements in the media.

Portugal: the knowledge capital of an entire generation in the balance

Portugal has experienced outstanding scientific progress among EU and OECD countries. Despite the last two decades of amazing scientific progress, our extremely young National Research System still lacks a strong scientific structure. As such, it is quite fragile and highly sensitive to external and internal changes. While this was already the case before the recession, the current situation imposes high levels of stress on researchers and institutions thereby amplifying existing weaknesses.

Towards research excellence rather than excellence itself

Last April, leading researchers, politicians and key players in European research funding discussed how Europe can finance and provide optimal conditions for excellent research. They adopted the so-called “Aarhus Declaration” which states that “when aiming for excellence, one should aim at the stars: a new knowledge which changes paradigms, invents new fields and opens opportunities for broad societal consequences.” Increasingly, European Union and national funding is anchored around the idea of excellence in research. But what exactly is excellence? Is this yardstick a fair measure of a scientist’s work? Questions are being raised about whether this distorts the research landscape in Europe.